Free Windows Software to Make PC More Accessible

Download Free Windows Software to Make PC More Accessible
The Pointing Magnifier enables visually impaired computer users to enlarge of portion of their monitor to make content easier to see. University of Washington

The University of Athens Speech and Accessibility Laboratory has created an online directory where persons with disabilities can download free Windows software to make their PC more accessible. The lab has installed and tested over 160 applications, including free voice to text and speech software.

The disability software is divided into 5 technology categories:

  1. Blindness
  2. Motor disability
  3. Low vision
  4. Hearing
  1. Speech Disability

Each entry includes the developer name, version number, a description, system requirements, information on installation, settings, and downloads (including internal and external links), and a screenshot.

The site provides three ways to search for applications: by assistive technology category, type of disability, or by alphabetical listing. Following are profiles of nine free programs.

Applications for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Students

ooVoo

ooVoo is an online communications platform that supports text chatting, video calls, and standard public network telephone calls with a prepaid account. Users can also record and send video files and connect with non-ooVoo users via Internet Explorer. User registration is required.

Applications for Learning Disabled Students

MathPlayer

MathPlayer enhances Internet Explorer to better display mathematical notation. Math displayed on web pages is written in Mathematical Markup Language (MathML).

When used with Internet Explorer, MathPlayer converts MathML content into standard math notation, such as one would find in a textbook. MathPlayer enables users to copy and enlarge equations or hear them read aloud via text-to-speech. The application requires Internet Explorer 6.0 or above.

Ultra HAL Text-to-Speech Reader

The Ultra Hal Text-to-Speech Reader reads documents aloud.

Users can from a variety of reading voices. The screen reader enables users to write copy and open text files. Press "Read All" to hear complete documents read aloud. Those with low vision can also read along. The application can also read what's copied to the clipboard and save the text as a WAV file, and read all Windows menus and dialog boxes.

Applications for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

NVDA Installer http://www.nvaccess.org/

The Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free, open-source Windows-based screen reader designed to bring computer access to blind and visually impaired users. NVDA's built-in speech synthesizer enables users to interact with all Windows operating system components. The main applications NVDA supports include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Outlook Express, and Microsoft Calculator, Word, and Excel. A portable version of NVDA is also available.

Multimedia Calculator.Net

The Multimedia Calculator displays an onscreen calculator that enables users to choose what function buttons will be displayed. The numbers appear in a different color from the function keys to improve resolution. The calculator has a 21-digit display. Settings enable users to hear each keystroke spoken aloud and to reverse the number layout.

Pointing Magnifier

The Pointing Magnifier is a mouse-activated magnifying glass that enlarges a circular area on the computer monitor. The user first moves a virtual lens with the mouse over the area they wish to enlarge. They then put the cursor within the circle and click any mouse button. Everything inside the circle is magnified; the cursor is pinned in place. Any mouse action a user then takes within the magnified circle returns the Pointing Magnifier to its original size.

Applications for Mobility Impaired Students

Angle Mouse

The Angle Mouse improves the efficiency and ease of Windows mouse pointing for people with impaired motor skills. The application runs in the background. The Angle Mouse is "target-agnostic:" it continually adjusts the control-display (C-D) gain based on mouse movement.

When the mouse moves straight, it moves quickly. But when the mouse corrects abruptly, often near targets, it slows down, making targets easier to reach.

Tazti Speech Recognition Software

Tanzi speech recognition software enables users to run applications and browse the web using voice commands. Tanzi creates a voice profile for each user, enabling simultaneous use by multiple people. Training the program by reading texts increases efficiency. Users cannot change Tanzi's default commands, but can generate additional ones and monitor their performance.

ITHICA

The ITHACA framework enables software developers and integrators to build computer-based augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) aids. ITHICA components include word and symbol selection sets, message editors, a syntactic parser, scanning functionality, and a symbolic language translation database.